Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), James Hogan, has visited Boeing’s Everett production facility, as the UAE flag carrier prepares to take delivery of more 777s and awaits the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner.
Mr Hogan is leading a senior delegation of Etihad Airways and airberlin executives on a one day visit. Etihad Airways owns almost 30 per cent of airberlin, Europe’s sixth largest airline.
In March the two carriers announced plans to strengthen their partnership by integrating their respective Boeing 787 Dreamliner programs.
Together, Etihad Airways (41) and airberlin (15) have 56 Dreamliners on order.
Inspecting the 777 and Dreamliner assembly lines, Mr Hogan said: “It is exciting to see these aircraft take shape and we look forward to taking delivery of nine more 777s over the next 15 months.
“For both carriers the Dreamliner’s arrival will be a positive milestone for two strategically aligned partners, who are looking to successfully work with Boeing on our integrated fleet program.
“Already we are sharing infrastructure, streamlining our purchasing activity for engines, rotables, avionics and in-flight entertainment systems, and are also hard at work on common onboard product specifications for our respective brands which will give passengers a consistent product experience.”
Last December, Etihad Airways announced it was taking its total order book for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to 41, the first of which arrives in the last quarter of 2014. The order, valued at US $9.3 billion, will make Etihad Airways the largest operator of the aircraft type in the world. The UAE flag carrier has options and purchase rights for an additional 25 aircraft.
airberlin has 15 Boeing 787s on order with options and purchase rights on a further 20 aircraft.
Etihad Airways has already taken delivery of three Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft in 2012, including the airline’s first three-class aircraft type. The airline’s current fleet of Boeing aircraft includes: 11 Boeing 777-300ER, one Boeing 777-200 freighter, and one Boeing 747-400 freighter (wet leased).
Over the next 15 months, Etihad Airways will take delivery of two B777-200 freighters, five Boeing 777-300ER three-class aircraft, and two Boeing 777-300ER two-class aircraft.
Mr Hogan concluded: “Looking beyond the current 777 and Dreamliner orders, Etihad Airways has had constructive discussions with Boeing today about future plans for new widebody fleet types.”
Ray Conner, President and Chief Executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “Boeing is very proud of its partnership with Etihad Airways and the confidence they have in our 777 and 787 airplanes.
“We are encouraged by the high-level of performance and operational efficiencies that the 777 provides to Etihad Airways’ current operations. And as one of Boeing’s largest 787 Dreamliner customers, we look forward to when this market-leading airplane becomes part of Etihad Airways’ award-winning passenger-service offerings.”